It is fitting that one of the country's best unknown players carries the forgettable name of Smith. He's not even the best-known Smith in his own conference; that honor goes to forward Michael Smith of Brigham Young. But down the road from Provo in Salt Lake City, Mitch Smith of Utah, an angular 6'8" forward-center who resembles Jerry West in the face and former Ute Tom Chambers in the low post, was the WAC's leading rebounder with 9.4 boards per game last season. Problem is, Smith plays in a conference and time zone where the networks fear to tread.
Also standing in the shadows are the nation's top rebounder and top returning scorer, both of whom play for the other Loyola. While high scoring Loyola Marymount was charming the media, Loyola of Chicago's sophomore center Kenny Miller was grabbing 13.6 rebounds per game to lead the country as a freshman, and senior forward Gerald Hayward was averaging 26.1 points to finish fourth in scoring. Alas, the Ramblers' attendance was less noteworthy. The largest crowd to see them play at home in 1987-88 was 4,779. Adding insult to obscurity, Miller will be academically ineligible until at least mid-December.
Junie Lewis and Jeff Hodge wear red, white and blue uniforms with the letters USA on their shorts, but you didn't see them talking to Bryant Gumbel in Seoul. The senior guards play for a different USA, the University of South Alabama. Known as "Peanut Butter" (Lewis) and "Jelly" (Hodge), the duo accounted for 44 points per game last season.
Hiding even deeper in the bushes is 5'7", 140-pound senior Greg Grant, who has a career average of 29.6 points per game at Division III Trenton (N.J.) State. Last August, Grant made a Philadelphia summer league's all-star team along with Division I stars Mark Macon of Temple and Lionel Simmons of La Salle. "Greg's a scorer at that size," says Trenton State coach Kevin Bannon, who found his talented guard back in 1986, working in a fish market.